Zimbabwe Energy Minister Soda Zhemu came into the spotlight yesterday, a day after the nation was plunged into darkness following a nationwide power failure, when legislator Brian Dube told Parliament that Zhemu had not showed up in the House since 22 July.
Dube said the current session of Parliament was likely to end before Zhemu answered questions put to his ministry for him to issue a ministerial statement.
Three ministers including Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga who is also minister of Health were also accused last week of ignoring requests from Parliament for statements relating to their portfolios.
The other two were Home Affairs Minister Kazemebe Kazembe and Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
The legislators were so upset about this and the absence of ministers during question time, which is held every Wednesday, that Highfield East Member of Parliament Eric Murai asked if ministers and their deputies were paid at the end of the month when they did not attend Parliament.
Sixteen ministers and their deputies sent apologies yesterday that they would not be attending Parliament.
HON. B. DUBE: Madam Speaker Ma’am, considering that the Session may close any time soon, I am concerned that the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Soda, has not showed up and if you check on the Order Paper, questions that were deferred relating to his Ministry date back to 27th July, 2022 and back. The risk of the Session lapsing is that these questions will fall off and Hon. Members will not have answers and responses to constituents. The country is black as we speak. In my constituency in Gweru, there is no electricity and I intend to find out from him and he has been evasive since July. What is the remedy that we have for Ministers, especially Hon. Soda? We do not mind other Ministers but for now Hon. Soda. There is a problem with Hon. Soda, especially where we are now – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Leader of Government Business has taken note of that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, Hon. Members.
HON. MURAI: I have a point of clarity Madam Speaker. I seek to get clarification about the Ministers and Deputy Ministers who seek leave of absence from this House. I want to know, will they be paid at the end of the month? This is being done continuously. Will they get their pay?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Murai, I am not privy to that information. I am not sure.
HON. MURAI: Find out from the Leader of the House Madam Speaker –